How to Fix Wireless Mac Keyboard Not Working in 8 Ways

Clare Weaver
Last updated: Mar 18, 2024

This guide covers 8 methods to address the wireless Mac keyboard not working issue. Check them out now!

Have you ever encountered a frustrating situation where your wireless Mac keyboard suddenly stops working? Before you start to panic, it's a common issue that Mac users face. Possibly, it’s the battery running low, the Bluetooth not connecting properly, or some software glitches. No matter what the case is, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the problem and get back to typing effortlessly. Let’s see how to troubleshoot the wireless Mac keyboard not working in 8 easy fixes.

Wireless Mac Keyboard Not Working, How to Fix?

Method 1: Ensure Bluetooth Is Activated and Functioning

Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the most apparent solutions when troubleshooting the wireless Mac keyboard not working issue, that is have you turned on the Bluetooth? Firstly, navigate to System Preferences > Bluetooth and verify that Bluetooth is enabled. Once the Bluetooth is turned on, you should see all detected devices, whether connected or not.

Activate Bluetooth in System Preferences

Alternatively, you can confirm the Bluetooth is turned on by checking the Apple menu bar.

Activate Bluetooth in Apple Menu Bar

Method 2: Confirm the Wireless Keyboard Is Powered On

If your wireless Mac keyboard or Magic Keyboard fails to function on the iMac, Mac mini, or your Mac Studio, the initial step is to ensure it is powered on. Here’s how to confirm:

  • For the latest Apple Magic Keyboards, slide the switch located on the back edge of the device until the green color becomes visible.

  • For older Apple Wireless Keyboards, press the Power button situated on the right edge, and observe the green LED lighting up on the top.

Apple Magic Keyboard

After confirming your device is powered on, revisit the Bluetooth preferences panel to check if it's connected. If your keyboard is searching for your computer but fails to connect, select the keyboard from the list of devices and click Connect. Unfortunately, if your device isn't listed, proceed to step five below.

Method 3: Verify the Battery Status of Your Keyboard

Low batteries in your keyboard can lead to performance issues or hinder its ability to connect, and it’s often a major cause of the Mac wireless keyboard not working. Fortunately, you can easily check the battery in Bluetooth settings.

Similarly, navigate to System Preferences > Bluetooth, where you can observe a small battery indicator below the listed—and connected—keyboard.

Verify Apple Keyboard Battery

Additionally, you can view the battery level of your connected devices by clicking the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. If the battery is low, replace or charge it as soon as possible. You can charge most wireless keyboards via a cable. Nevertheless, certain older keyboards utilize disposable batteries (commonly AAA or AA size), which may require replacement.

Method 4: Disable Mouse Keys and Slow Keys

Certain macOS, particularly those before Big Sur, offer accessibility features that might disrupt normal keyboard functionality. To address this, follow the guides below to turn off the Mouse and Slow keys.

Navigate to System Preferences > Accessibility and access Pointer Control. Under Alternative Control Methods, confirm that Mouse Keys is deactivated. This feature allows mouse control using keyboard keys, which could result in certain keys not functioning.

Disable Mouse Keys to fix wireless Mac keyboard not working

Subsequently, proceed to Accessibility > Keyboard and ensure Slow Keys is switched off. Enabling this feature requires you to hold keys for longer durations for them to register as presses.

Disable Slow Keys to fix wireless Mac keyboard not working

Method 5: Re-pair Your Mac Wireless Keyboard and Computer

If your Apple wireless keyboard remains unresponsive or fails to connect, one more resort is to remove and re-pair it with your Mac. Here’s how to re-establish the connection:

  1. In the Bluetooth preferences panel, identify your keyboard in the device list and choose Disconnect.
    Disconnect Apple Keyboard
  2. Right-click (or command-click) on the keyboard and select Forget. A warning prompt will appear, confirming the action. Click Forget Device to proceed.
  3. Subsequently, power off your keyboard and then power it back on. The indicator light should commence blinking. Your keyboard will appear under Nearby Devices. Hover over it and click Connect, then follow the on-screen prompts to complete the re-pairing process.

Method 6: Reset the Mac Bluetooth Keyboard

If re-pairing the wireless keyboard does not help, you can move forward by resetting the Mac Bluetooth keyboard.

To reset a Mac Bluetooth keyboard, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the keyboard by holding down the power button for at least 3 seconds.
  2. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.
  3. Turn on the keyboard by holding down the power button, but continue holding it down throughout the process.
  4. The Setup Assistant will detect the keyboard; click its name and then Continue while still holding the power button.
  5. Enter the pairing code on the keyboard and press return. Release the power button after entering the pairing code.
  6. Wait for the pairing to complete; the keyboard should now be successfully paired and operational.

Method 7: Clean the Mac Wireless Keyboard

Dust and debris can accumulate over time and interfere with the functionality of your keyboard. Use compressed air or a soft brush to clean the keys and remove any obstructions.

Or, believe it or not, there’s a bizarre yet effective way to clean your wireless keyboard. This solution involves removing the keyboard batteries, covering the battery port, and soaking the entire keyboard in alcohol while swishing it around and scrubbing the keys. After that, allow the keyboard to dry for 24 hours before turning it back on. Following this process, you will likely fix the wireless Mac keyboard not working issue.

Method 8: Update macOS to Ensure Compatibility

Over time, keyboards may become incompatible with outdated macOS versions, especially when using third-party accessories or apps. If your wireless Mac keyboard isn't working due to compatibility issues with older macOS versions, you can fix the error by updating the system.

Here’s how to update macOS:

  1. Navigate to the Apple icon and select About This Mac.
  2. Within the Overview panel, locate and click on Software Update in the bottom-right corner.
  3. Check for the latest compatible version of macOS available in the Software Update tab.
    Update macOS to fix wireless Mac keyboard not working
  4. If an update is available, click on 'Upgrade Now' and follow the on-screen instructions to install the newest macOS version. See what to do If you can't update your Mac.
Before upgrading to a newer OS, it’s suggested to utilize tools like BuhoCleaner to clean up your Mac for optimized storage and overall performance. With BuhoCleaner, you can declutter your storage space, optimize your Mac's speed, and ensure smoother operation, allowing you to enjoy a seamless computing experience.
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In conclusion, this post covers 8 effective methods to troubleshoot the wireless Mac keyboard not working. By ensuring Bluetooth connectivity, checking the power status and battery level, disabling potential disruptors like Mouse Keys and Slow Keys, and re-pairing or resetting the keyboard if necessary, you can address this issue effectively. Additionally, keeping your keyboard clean and updating macOS for compatibility can further enhance performance. With these solutions at hand, you can overcome any challenges with your wireless Mac keyboard and continue working seamlessly.

Clare Weaver

Clare Weaver has been captivated by the world of Apple products since the launch of iconic iPhone in 2007. With a wealth of experience, Clare is your go-to source for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and all things Apple.